Centuries Ago, Halloween Was All About Finding a Husband Old traditions and superstitions made it quite the holiday for single ladies.
1. Apple bobbing as matchmaking.
According to fruit historian Joan Morgan, co-author of The New Book of Apples, early settlers of America brought with them European customs that stemmed from the age-old belief that apples were symbols of fertility. One lost Halloween tradition that springs from this idea involved young women covertly marking apples before dropping them into a tub of water. Men would “bob” for the apples; future “matches” were foretold depending on whose apple a man snagged.
2. Peeling apples to predict your future spouse.
Back when apple peeling was a community-wide endeavor in New England, a young single woman would peel an apple in one long strand and toss the peel over her shoulder. If the peel landed in the shape of a letter, that was supposedly her future husband’s initial.
3. Staring into a mirror to see your future spouse’s face.
The earliest American celebrations of Halloween combined American Indian and European customs. Neighbors would gather at “play parties” to celebrate the harvest by dancing, singing, reminiscing about the dead, and telling each other’s fortunes.
5. Watching hazelnuts roast over a fire.
Following a tradition that originated with the ancient Celts, single women in Scotland would designate a hazelnut for each of their love interests, then toss the nuts into a fire on Halloween. The nut that burned to ashes, instead of popping, supposedly represented the woman’s future betrothed.
6. Eating sweets to get clairvoyant dreams.
One lost Halloween tradition of Scotland said that if a woman ate a dessert of sugary walnuts, hazelnuts, and nutmeg before going to sleep on Halloween, she’d dream of — what else? — her future husband.
7. Hiding jewelry inside potatoes.
Lost Halloween traditions dating back to 18th-century Ireland also centered around, you guessed it, matchmaking. For instance, on Halloween night, a cook might place a ring inside a bowl of mashed potatoes. Whoever found it was sure to find true love.
Pictured above: “Snap-Apple Night” by Irish artist Daniel Maclise, influenced by a Halloween party he attended in Blarney, Ireland, in 1832. One line of Maclise’s description of the scene stated “There was Kate, and her sweet-heart Will, / In nuts their true-love burning.”
8. Hiking through the woods in search of chestnuts.
Halloween parties often included a “chestnut hunt”— the first person to find a burr, legend had it, would be the first in the group to walk down the aisle.
Can you imagine STILL doing some of these? Maybe these might work better then the dating sites? LOL At least they could be more entertaining and your chances of finding a ‘mate’ seem to hold the same…
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